A North Adams man awaiting sen­tencing for a pro­bation vio­lation is now facing a sep­arate criminal enter­prising charge, according to the Hillsdale County Prosecutor’s Office.

The office charged Shane Edward Mitchell, 45, with criminal enter­prise relating to his tree-cutting company, Mitchell’s Tree Climbers. His bond is set at $50,000, according to court documents.

Pros­e­cuting Attorney Neal Brady said charges stem from Mitchell’s tree-cutting service as a way to defraud cus­tomers out of thou­sands of dollars ​​by con­tracting work, receiving payment, then not showing up to do the work. He scammed cus­tomers in this way for more than three years. Hillsdale City Police iden­tified six victims during their inves­ti­gation, according to Lt. Jason Stiverson of the Hillsdale County Sheriff’s Office.

Stiverson said Mitchell allegedly stole more than $1,000 in two or more instances leading to the criminal enter­prise charge.

In November, Mitchell pleaded guilty to car­rying a con­cealed weapon as a habitual offender and was placed on pro­bation for 11 months. Mitchell later failed to report to his pro­bation agent later that month, leading to his arrest in December. 

Chris Gautz, the Michigan Department of Cor­rec­tions public infor­mation officer, said Mitchell tested pos­itive for metham­phet­amine during a drug test upon arriving at Hillsdale County Jail in December. 

On Jan. 13, Mitchell pleaded guilty to the pro­bation vio­lation on Jan. 13 and now awaits sen­tencing in February.

In the criminal enter­prise case, Brady said he offered Mitchell a deal of pleading guilty to one count of theft by false pre­tenses over $1,000, a five-year felony, with resti­tution to be paid to all the victims. In exchange, Mitchel would not face the criminal enter­prise charge, which carries a 10-year prison sen­tence if Mitchell is found guilty, according to Brady.

“He will likely reject that offer and say that it’s all a civil matter, some have even sued him civilly,” Brady said in an email. 

Brady said Mitchell could argue that he meant to do the work but fell on bad times by getting in trouble with the law, getting addicted to drugs, and strug­gling with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Mitchell had a probable cause hearing on Jan. 26. Brady said Mitchell wants a pre­lim­inary exam scheduled next week where pros­e­cutors will have to show enough evi­dence to charge Mitchell.

Rod Dunham, Mitchell’s attorney, declined to comment on the case.

At the time of pub­li­cation, Mitchell is expected to remain in Hillsdale County Jail until his sen­tencing hearing in Feb­ruary. If the judge con­cludes that there is probable cause Mitchell  com­mitted criminal enter­prise, then a trial will be scheduled for the summer, according to Brady.